Michael and I have always been fascinated by the case involving Beth Short, AKA, the "Black Dahlia", back in 1947. She was a restless youth, born in Medford Mass. It had always been her dream to act in Hollywood, and be a star of the silver screen, and so she eventually drifted her way out to Los Angeles, CA and La La Land.
Even though she became a local legend around Hollywood, and its environs, and was quickly dubbed the "Black Dahlia", because of her penchant to dress to the nines, in all black, her movie career, tragically, never came to pass. She never even got around to having a screen test. She fell in with a crowd of would-be starlets, crashing at each others' apartments, and staying in hotels for brief periods, due to lack of money. It was definitely a transient life-style.
Amongst the many men Beth dated (mostly servicemen) she eventually fell in with THE worst man she could have possibly met. He tortured her, murdered her and cut her in half.&n! bsp; Her body was found in a vacant lot that neighbors used to dump trash. It was the final insult, to poor Betty, like she was part of the trash that was being thrown away! She was found, the morning after she was dumped, on Wednesday, January 15th, 1947.
Officially, the crime has never been solved, due to a massive cover-up, but The Black Dahlia name became a legend that survived, down through the years. The Hollywood scandal hounds.....and American society, in general, seem to find romance and titillation in the idea of an attractive, unfortunate young woman with a catchy alias, being murdered with sadistic brutality. Somehow that is considered "sexy". This attitude is an indictment of our culture.
So, the Black Dahlia became the subject and object of countless books, TV shows, crime novels and "True Crime" Books. Psychics claimed to have "spoken" with the Dahlia.. I find that hard to believe, since Michael and I found out, some months back, that this poor woman was spending her afterlife in a nightmarish fugue-state, re-living her murder over and over and over again. When we first met her, she was totally insane.
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The only book, on the subject, I ever found worthwhile was "Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer", by Janice Knowlton, along with Michael Newton. The other books were, many times, too lurid and sensationalist, to me. The "True Crime" books, in my opinion, speculated endlessly, around in circles, and never accomplished anything. I always had the feeling that no one really WANTED to solve this case!
Then the Janice Knowlton book came out. This is a book based on the recovered memories of Janice, in therapy. Far too many people do not want to acknowledge the legitimacy of recovered memories; indeed, most people don't want to deal with their OWN repressed memories because it means that they might have to face something unpleasant, if not downright horrible. Therefore, the book, in may quarters, was ridiculed.
Janice's memories were downright horrible, but nightmarish as they are, there is a relentless consistency to her recountings. When a person is making up a story, or lying, there are ALWAYS inconsistencies. I found none, in her book. True, the book is relentlessly depressing and, at times, hard to handle, but ! this WOU LD be the nature of life with a psycho serial murderer. The life of Elizabeth Short, A.K.A, the Black Dahlia was anything BUT romantic. It was sad and sordid and all too brief. In many ways, Janice suffered a fate far worse than Betty, but she, at least, lived to seek help, in her adulthood. In short, the book made a lot of sense to me, and it was THE most convincing book on this heinous crime.
Michael, on the other hand, has read everything available, on the Black Dahlia. His most recent aquisitions were "The Black Dahlia Avenger", by Steve Hodel, a former detective of the LAPD. In this book, Hodel theorizes that HIS father, George, killed The Black Dahlia. As far as I was concerned, I already knew who Betty's murderer was, and it wasn't Hodel's father. George Hodel, WAS a sleasewad, though, AND a murderer of at least one woman....but he didn't kill Betty.
Also, there was "Childhood Shadows" by Mary Pacios, amongst Michael's recent book purchases, which is a recounting of Mary's childhood in Medford, Mass.. She was friends with Beth Short, and viewed Betty as a very nice, caring person.
Then, strangely, things started getting weird for us, in the fall of 2002. For a month, or so, everywhere we went, together or separately, we kept hearing songs on PA systems about California, over and over again, in different stores and restaurants, and seeing ads about California; big, colorful ads that hit you right in the face.
We'd also pick up magazines and newspapers, and the first thing we would see is a mention of California. I dreamed SEVERAL times, that I was living in San Francisco, or Hollywood, during this period. It was SO uncanny, and it was happening to BOTH of us, and for awhile, we couldn't seem to get away from relentless reminders of California.
At first, we thought the synchronicity of it all meant that we were going to MOVE to California, for some reason. My agent, Nancy, HAD mentioned the idea of me writing television scripts. Neither Michael nor I wanted to move there, but we decided to wait and see. Finally, the California imagery passed, but it still left us wondering.........
! ;Then, o ne day, shortly after Michael's place of employment, Borders Books, made it's move from 18th and Walnut Sts. to Broad and Chestnut, he was confronted, separately by two resident spirits, in the building. The first was a young man named Sturgis Murray, who worked as a bank employee, when the building that Borders was now occupying, was once a PNB (Philadelphia National Bank), in the 30's. The other is a refined gentleman by the name of Robert Hampton, who was a salesman, when the building was Wanamaker's Mens' Store, in the 1920's! Both men seemed lucid and quite happy to be where they were. Shortly after Michael had started working in this new location, both spirits introduced themselves to him in a jaunty, friendly manner. Michael was intrigued.
One morning, Michael was in the True Crime/Mystery section, and he spotted the new book by Steven Hodel, called "Black Dahlia Avenger". He took note of this book, and decided to wait to place it on hold, since he was still reading another book, at the time. Michael also noted, directly across the aisle, in Mystery, James Elroy's "Black Dahlia" and "My Dark Places". All these books he decided that he wanted to take home and read, eventually.
Later in the day, Michael removed some items from his employee Hold Shelf that he no longer wanted. He t! ook the "hold slip" with his name on it and placed it back in the "hold slip pile".
Next morning, while he was placing a book on hold for a customer, Michael was astounded to find that ALL 3 books that he had wanted had been rubber-banded together with the original hold slip inside "Black Dahlia Avenger"! No one but HE had known that he wanted those books, so none of his co-workers could have done this favor for Michael. He asked Sturgis if he had done this, and Mr. Murray cheerfully said , no it wasn't him, it was Robert Hampton!
I was amazed, when Michael told me this story. Within the week, he brought the books home and started reading "Black Dahlia Avenger".